Warm weather is here and many consumers are looking to make home improvements while sticking to a budget. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to balance cost effectiveness with energy efficiency, as more efficient windows, doors and skylights can make a big difference in energy consumption over time.

Start by looking for products that carry the Energy Performance Ratings label from the National Fenestration Rating Council. The label can help determine how well a product will perform its key functions – helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, keeping out wind, and resisting condensation.

As with any home improvement project, it’s important to make sure you deal with a reputable contractor and reputable materials. In the past year, the BBB serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming received 3,163 inquiries and eight complaints about window companies in its 38-county service territory and another 891 inquiries and no complaints about window installation companies.
When it’s time to purchase new windows, keep the following in mind:

Check the window’s U-Factor. During cold winter months, you want your windows to trap heat. U-Factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The lower the U-value, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow and the better its insulation value.

How much solar heat? The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rates how much solar radiation is admitted through the window. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window's SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits in the house.

Do you want lots of light? Visible Transmittance is an optical property that indicates the amount of visible light transmitted through the window. VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher the VT, the more light is transmitted.

Thwart unwanted breeziness. Heat loss and gain occur by Air Leakage through cracks in the window assembly. The lower the Air Leakage, the better the window is at not letting air pass through cracks in the window assembly.

Ensure windows are free from any water leakage. The higher the Condensation Resistance rating, the better that product is at resisting condensation formation. While this rating cannot predict condensation, it can provide a credible method of comparing the potential of various products for condensation formation. CR is expressed as a number between 1 and 100.

Start With Trust. For trustworthy consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.  And for more information on the Energy Performance Ratings label, visit nfrc.org.